Tag: food

17
Feb

Relishing a New Beginning

Hanks Haute Dogs Kakaako

A former five-star restaurateur finds fulfillment in creating fancy fast food at Hank’s Haute Dogs.

Text by Brad Dell | Images by John Hook

Owning a five-star restaurant is a fantasy for many cooks. But for Henry “Hank” Adaniya, the reality did not live up to the hype, so he tossed the stars aside to pursue a very different venture. “I switched from a world-class restaurant to making hot dogs,” Hank says, grinning. “That was very fulfilling. It wasn’t to be financially successful. It was to chase my dream.”

This aspiration emerged from stories his parents had told him of owning a hot dog stand called The Beach Grill at Kapi‘olani Park from 1941 to 1953. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Chicago, Hank fantasized about chasing a similar life in Hawai‘i. But he put this ultimate dream on hold while he worked in Chicago, first as a frustrated engineer, then as a cook, taking an 80 percent pay cut in order to pursue something he was passionate about.

However, he found that he lacked the essentials to become a chef. “Chefs require a whole different level of intuition about food and composition. My engineering mind thought it was all about simply adding ingredients and hoping the food comes out better,” he says. “It’s a dance, and I wasn’t a great dancer.” So he pivoted to management and opened an avant-garde, fusion restaurant named Trio.

Between 1993 and 2006, this Chicago restaurant collected a plethora of accolades, including five stars from the Mobil Travel Guide in 2004 and one of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America in 2005, and became the training ground for some of the most high-profile chefs in the country, such as multiple James Beard Award-winning chef Grant Achatz. “I reached a point where I really couldn’t get any higher than I was. Trio was rated one of the top 13 restaurants in North America [by Mobil Travel Guide] and I was like, ‘Well, alright. What’s next?’” Hank says. “I like simple yet creative food. Food with memory. Chicago-style hot dogs fulfill that for me.”

Hanks Haute Dogs Kakaako

So he turned Trio over to his partners in 2006 and moved to Hawai‘i to open his dream hot dog stand on the beach. But instead, he ended up a few blocks north of the ocean, debuting Hank’s Haute Dogs in Kaka‘ako. Taking the gourmet approach, he put a variety of sausages on the menu, including rabbit and lobster, as well as the classic Chicago beef hot dog. The restaurateur didn’t predict this fancy fare would be eagerly received on an island with a population that relishes the $1.50 hot dog and soda combo at Costco, but three hours after opening his doors for the first time, he was sold out.

Since then, Hank’s Haute Dogs has been featured on national television, and restaurant guide Gayot named it one of the top 10 hot dog spots in the country. In December 2014, Hank even achieved his dream of a beachfront location, debuting a stand in Lāhainā, Maui. The visionary entrepreneur runs the business side of both spots and is also the creative mind behind most of his menu items, like the Greek dog, made with lamb sausage and tzatziki sauce, and the rabbit sausage, topped off with a dijon truffle cheese sauce. “Although I’m not a chef, I can cook hot dogs okay,” he says.

What dream will he pursue next? “I’ve accomplished most of my food dreams,” he says. “Maybe a champagne bar.”

Hank’s Haute Dogs is located in Our Kaka‘ako at 324 Coral St. and at Sheraton Maui, 2605 Kaanapali Pkwy., on Maui. For more information, visit hankshautedogs.com.

20
May

Growing Communities

Urban Farm Hawaii

Urban Farm Hawaii digs up solutions for reconnecting people to the food they eat.

Text by Matt Luttrell | Images by John Hook

Across from the University of Hawai‘i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine is a small, quarter-acre lot that is home to a scraggly patch of weeds. But Urban Farm Hawaii, the nonprofit that will transform the space, envisions the land as a harmonious display of urban agriculture in action, where educational programs will be held to teach community members how to repurpose unused land parcels, and tended plants will provide food for the area. For Hunter Heaivilin, Urban Farm Hawaii’s director, this Ilalo Street plot will be the seedling that grows into a movement of “city agriculture for all the city’s people.”

Urban Farm Hawaii was founded in 2011 by three agriculture and urban planning students at UH Mānoa who were concerned with Hawai‘i’s dependence on imported foods. The nonprofit hui wanted to get their hands in the ground and find a way to reconnect people with growing food in Honolulu’s urban core.

Foundry_Hunter01 copy

In Kaka‘ako, things took off for the group when they gained access to the land in front of the old Comp USA building on the corner of Ala Moana Boulevard and South Street in December 2013. On the tiny parcel, co-founders Andrew Dedrick, Mitchell Loo, Nate Ortiz, and volunteers planted 28 different varieties of dry-land kalo (taro). Although Urban Farm Hawaii only had the land for an eight-month period due to redevelopment, and the taro is no longer there, landlord Kamehameha Schools was impressed by the endeavor and gave the nonprofit a one-year lease for their current plot.

Heaivilin took on an active leadership role last year, right around the time he graduated with a master’s in urban and regional planning from UH Mānoa. He has been working in the area of sustainable development for the past eight years. “The world we are born into is not the only one that can exist,” says Heaivilin, who is passionate about making O‘ahu a better place through repurposing urban land. While researching his thesis, Heaivilin discovered nearly 10,000 acres between Pearl City and Kahala that could potentially be farmed, should circumstances require it.

It’s estimated that Honolulu imports more than 90 percent of its food. While Urban Farm Hawaii does not preach complete independence from imported foods, the nonprofit knows that a balance needs to be found, and soon. But no one said starting a revolution in local urban agriculture would be easy. Right now, Urban Farm must begin, literally, in the weeds.

Help this small nonprofit engage the community and weave ecosystem services and social interactive spaces back into Honolulu. To learn more, visit urbanfarmhawaii.com.